veg fort

VEG FORT UPDATE:

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So I harvested the first radishes. And well…

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Not the best crop. Even though I’d spaced them out at their maximum distance I think next time around I’ll then them out a bit more, maybe trim some of the leaves so they put more energy into the actual radish. Nobody said taking down big salad would be easy.

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The rest of the fort is coming along nicely. The winter spinach and what I think is the pak choi have started appearing. The Sicily radishes will get thinned out next week.

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The chives have started popping up. They took their time and for a little while I thought I’d have to court martial them for cowardice.

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The carrots and the summer spinach are doing well. Grabbed a harvest of that large one.

Which 45 minutes later found its way into a sausage sandwich. It’s an amazing feeling to cultivate life, feed it, nurture it and then when the time is right, consume it taking its power for your own! Makes you feel like a god… or an immortal in the Highlander films. Anyway–

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Im rather proud of my runner beans at the moment. They were getting too big for the fame on the pallet so I tied two bamboo poles to the side and ran twine inbetween and they’ve taken to it like Brian Blessed taking Everest.

Moving indoors:

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My Pepper babies are fit and healthy and have produced a nice little crop of peppers.

Will likely harvest the larger peppers next week.

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The twins are doing a lot better. It was touch and go for a while as they had to be quarantined.

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Don’t know exactly what they were but about a dozen were wiggling out of the soil like a horror film. Got rid of them and thankfully no more have appeared.

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Have also been keeping and drying banana skins and egg shells. Then blitzing them in a food processor. I can throw this on to the veg and give the soil a boost of potassium and calcium.

Next week the beds are getting built and the mesh is going up on the walls.

Would have done it all this week but Virgin are tearing up my street laying fibre optic cables… probably sent by the salad industrial complex to spy on the Veg Fort.

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The veg fort continues to develop. In the two long tubs I’ve sowed winter spinach which should be good to go by November.

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I’ve moved the OG radishes in and we’re just days away from unleashing them.

There are two more battalions of red top radishes in the blue trays. They’ll have to be thinned out at some point.

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The Sicily radishes, my salad nostra, are coming along nicely. I also have another two tubs of the veggiefellas, so I should have a good crop of radishes if nothing else.

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The runner beans are doing well. Gonna put some more twine so they’ve got more to climb.

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Took my first harvest from the summer spinach. Was worried that I’d decapitated them but they’ve already started sprouting new leaves.

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Also, in addition to the veg fort I’ve opened up the Greenleaf Hotel. Our first guest is a party of four Pak Choi.

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Other guests at the Greenleaf are the twins. A shop bought plant that by rights should probably be dead. But I’ve used dark science and ancient magics to keep them alive.

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My chilli plant is also on the mend after the leaves went all weird and rusty.

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My wonderful pepper children are now home. Gave them a shot of tomato feed (they’re old enough now) and they’ve perked up a lot from being out in the wind.

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The biggest plant has three glorious peppers. Looking forward to tasting them.

If I don’t melt in all this hot weather the plan is to build the beds out of pallets and start composting in situ. Then by next year everything should be set to destroy the salad industrial complex start planting.

News from the Veg Fort:

I added an extra plank along the front of the beds to deepen the troughs. My brother has some marigolds he said I can nick and I’ve got some garlic chives. So I’ll put those in the troughs and let them act as sacrificial lambs to the insects

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I finished painting the bench! Well, parts of it could probably use a second coat but I ran out of paint. My niece was very upset with me that it wasn’t blue. I had to buy a large bag of chocolate buttons to make up for what was obviously my mistake and not Wilkos for having a limited colour selection. 

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My next little upcycle project is going to be turning the framed pallet I’m currently growing the beans on into a cold frame. The plan is to cut it down to the mid supports, put a beam along the front and then cover it with some thick clear plastic sheeting I found in the garage of the new house. Get some hinges and use some of the spare pallet wood to make a door for it.

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I’ll probably make a start on the cold frame week after next once I’ve picked the runner beans. 

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They’ve had a bit a spurt this last week which is good as I was getting worried that nothing was going to grow because I’d put them into too small a container. I’ve also had to deal with aphids! I’ve been annihilating tackling them with washing up liquid in cold water. It seems to have worked really well.

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Aphids aside I’ve got a really good first harvest from the beans.

My poor pak choi have not been so lucky!

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I’ve had to deal with caterpillars and beetles! The caterpillars I get because of butterflies, those fluttery little bastards can travel. But where do the beetles come from!? How are they surviving prior to me planting nutritious oriental greens!? BEHOLD THE FACE OF EVIL: 

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I’ve had to cut all the worst affected leaves and I’ve used the washing up liquid method to see if that works. So far I have lost two pak choi plants in this senseless war. Am I never to have pak choi!?

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about these tiny little things that have been sprouting up everywhere. They didn’t look like any of the other weeds so it was a bit of a mystery.

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But I may have solved it. The sproutlings below are from a coriander (I think. It could be parsley) plant I bought from Asda last year. Decided to let it go to seed and see what I could get off it. It turns out my coriander plant may have been putting it about before I collected the seeds! 

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The winding down for winter continues. Building the cold frame should take a weekend to build. That’ll keep the herbs safe from frost. And then make a nice little greenhouse in the summer.

I’ve been watching Big Dreams Small Spaces on Netflix and Monty Don gave me an idea to put a small pond next to the fruit tree/bush I’m planning to put in the corner.

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That’ll be after I’ve rebuilt the corner bed to make better use of the space.

I am itching for next year to roll around so I can get started.

What garden/greeny projects are you up to?

NEWS FROM THE VEG FORT:

The weather has been all over the place the last few weeks so opportunities to get in the garden for long have been slim.

And in my absence…

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Caterpillars have properly gone to town on my pak choi! Little bastards. Don’t they know brexit might leave me depending on my veg fort for sustenance and tradable goods!?

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My winter spinach has also taken a beating with one (as far as I can tell) surviving. I may move that into the big tub with the chives and see how it gets on.

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All the radishes have been picked and in this tub only weeds and chives have dominion.

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So last week I picked what I thought was the last harvest of summer spinach but I think there’s one more left that if the caterpillars leave me some! The carrots have also had a bit of a spurt which is good as I was getting a bit worried about them.

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The beans have finally started to produce actual beans but it may be a little late in the year for them to mature into anything edible. We will see.

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Did finally have the time to build the veg beds! I’ve used old compost bags to line them and am planning to compost in situ over the winter. The corner bed is going to get re-done at some point but that’s where I’m thinking of putting a fruit Bush or tree. Not sure yet. Any suggestions welcome.

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Also put some weld mesh up and then made some pot holders out of coat hangers.

AT A SECRET LOCATION:

I built a bench! Still needs sanding and painting but I am very happy with it. And I didn’t stop there oh no:

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Because I also made a table from the bench scraps. Definitely had a Ron Swanson moment afterwards where I was declaring that people who buy things are idiots.

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MOVING INDOORS:

All the indoor plants are doing well and haven’t changed much since the last update, except for:

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My chilli plant! From near death to producing nine gorgeous looking chills. Gonna look forward to cooking with them.

As the Veg Fort begins to wind down in preparation for winter I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone so far. Hoping to plant some over winter onions on the weekend, so there’ll still be something stirring and growing through the cold and dark times.

Last Veg Fort report of the year:

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Well, the nights have crept in and with it we’re forced to appreciate the turning of the world.

The weather, life and a dodgy tendon in my gardening arm have meant not being able to get outside quite as much as I’d have liked. As a result my pak choi and winter spinach were decimated.

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They were riddled with caterpillars and slugs. RIP, Pak Choi. We hardly knew ye.

In what was no doubt a coordinated attack a cat also decided to defecate on my over winter onions and shallots!

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This required an extensive reinforcement of current security measures.

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As well as the netting I also covered the soil in a fragrant mix of crushed garlic and coffee grinds. As the smell apparently does not meet with feline approval when out browsing for a new toilet.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the onions and shallots turn out. It’s weirdly comforting to know that even though there’s nothing else I can do in the garden, they’re out there doing their thing. Signs of life in the dark.

The big priority at the moment is getting the cold frame finished.

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Wasn’t able to finish it after cutting it down to size because of the dodgy tendon and my gardening arm (which is also my sawing arm) feeling like it was on actual literal fire. It’s only a few hours of work so I’m hoping I can make the time asap so the herbs have a place to live over the winter.

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Bed number 2 is where I’ve been dumping trimmings and soil from the tubs. I need to buy some more soil just to top it up.

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I’ve covered it with bin bags to limit weed growth and at the end of December I’ll probably take a pitch fork to it and give it a turn. Then cover it back over and leave it until the end of January maybe the end of February before planting anything there.

And that’s pretty much it from the Veg Fort. Oh! Wait! There’s a new arrival.

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I was recently in the Isle of White and bought this lemon plant. I’m looking forward to our zesty future together.

And this report is finished. There are long cold and dark nights to come but equally there are long warm and bright days ahead. There’s always change and struggle and pain, so much so that this year may have felt like one endless bitter night. But we’ve made it this far and together I know we’ll make it the rest of the way through the dark.

Brave heart, dear friends! Stick together and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

(“,)

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Originally posted by chaptertwo-thepacnw

SPECIAL REPORT FROM THE VEG FORT!

The cold frame is finished!

Really enjoyed working on this. Took longer than planned mind you and thankfully my dad was able to was able to pick up the slack where my dodgy tendon could not.

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The door and the sides are covered in some perspex my dad had laying around.

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Both sides of the inside have been lined with thick plastic sheeting. I’m hoping this will create a kind of double glazing effect.

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The sheeting then makes up the inside and outside of the front. Again I’m aiming to create as much insulation as possible.

At some point I’ll add a latch that will hold the door open slightly. That way in the summer it’ll make a nice little greenhouse.

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I’ve got some garden fleece somewhere that I’ll line the bottom with asap.

I also used some scrap wood to create these troughs. Unsure whether to line them and grow some plants in there directly or just put small pots in there.

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It’s not perfect but it’ll give my herbs a fighting over the winter and last 2 maybe 3 years with a bit of tlc every so often. And it taught me a lot so the next one will be better. Stronger. Impenetrable to those unlearned in the dark arts.

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